King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Photograph courtesy of Lopez Museum
Style Style Profile

Power dressing: heads of state that moved nations—and fashion.

These world leaders did not only make a lasting impact through their words and deeds, but by the clothes on their back. Politics aside, these men had a look that is either stylish, or signature.
Vault Staff | Apr 07 2019

1. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

The young monarch of the Kingdom of Siam was a cool cat and accomplished musician who jammed with jazz greats Lionel Hampton and Benny Goodman, and bluesman B.B. King. When not in traditional or military dress, the King cut a graceful figure in bespoke suits, dark glasses, and fine Swiss timepieces.


2. John F. Kennedy

Photograph courtesy of Lopez Museum

With his favorite blue pinstripe single-breasted suits and casual weekend sailing outfits, JFK broke stuffy English tradition and defined American presidential style to come.


More on vintage looks:


3. Jawaharlal Nehru

Photograph courtesy of Lopez Museum

The “Nehru jacket” may have symbolized Indian nationalism, but the Harrow-educated first prime minister of India always had his personal tailors adopt the style and discipline of Savile Row.


4. The men of the House of Windsor

From Edward, the Duke of Windsor, the Crown Prince Charles, to the dapper Prince William, impeccable taste in tailored clothing is turning out to be the defining trait of the bloodline. Only the gentlemen of the House of Windsor can turn Barbour jackets, tartan kilts, mismatched patterns, and oversized tie knots into fashion statements. 


This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 2 2011.